Hoping to discourage climbers, Roeland Park approves funding for landscaping around R Park sculpture

Wholly funded through the efforts of a private citizens group, the See Red Run sculpture by artist Jorge Blanco was installed in R Park in May 2019. Photo credit city of Roeland Park.

The Roeland Park city council last week approved material, installation and maintenance fees of up to $8,000 for landscaping around the See Red Run sculpture located at R Park, 5535 Juniper Drive. The piece, by artist Jorge Blanco, was commissioned after a citizens group raised funds for the public art and installed last May.

The Parks Committee brought forth a recommendation to approve funding for the landscaping around the sculpture — as it was not allocated for by the Arts Committee — in an effort to discourage people from climbing the art. The Parks Committee representative said going forward, the Arts Committee will not implement a piece of art without allocating funds for accompanying landscaping.

Total cost for the materials, installation and maintenance came out to just under $9,500. The Sustainability Committee allocated $1,000 to landscaping, and Parks allocated $3,000, leaving almost $6,000 unaccounted for. Public Works Director Donnie Scharff said the quote presented to the city council was not complete, as Arbor Masters did not respond to his inquiry as to whether or not a concrete barrier could be produced in-house.

Councilmember Tom Madigan asked if the city council should be voting on an item before having all of the information. Councilmember Claudia McCormack, a Parks committee member, originally motioned to approve funding for up to $8,000 to allow for “wiggle room.” McCormack said the committee brought forward an incomplete quote because the planting needs to take place in early spring.

“All of the landscaping and this whole project has just come as a big surprise,” McCormack said. “We’re just lucky we have talented people to lend their time and talents to this effort.”

Councilmember Jim Kelly asked when the deadline to approve the funding is in order to get the planting done during early spring. He then motioned to table the new business item to the next city council meeting. Councilmembers Michael Rebne, Madigan and Kelly were the sole council members who voted in favor of tabling the item.

Madigan went on the record saying that while he would support the approval of funding for See Red Run landscaping, he would not vote in favor of a future item if it did not come complete to the city council. The recommendation for landscaping funds up to $8,000 was approved by city council, and Kelly voted against the funding.